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Body Dysmorphic Disorder Has Reached Epidemic Proportions, Scientists Say

Researchers from the Moscow State University of Psychology and Pedagogy (MSUPE) have developed a diagnostic tool for physical appearance perfectionism, an overemphasis on beauty. It causes some young boys and girls to suffer from depression and eating disorders, an “epidemic” reported by Russian and foreign authors.

The development aims to create measures for mental hygiene and prevention of disorders that can help young people build a healthy and harmonious perception of their bodies and appearance, the researchers say. The paper was published in the journal Counselling Psychology and Psychotherapy.

Today’s world is facing an acute problem of mental disorders related to dissatisfaction with one’s appearance and body among young people, the MSUPE researchers said. The crucial factor in these problems is what is known as physical appearance perfectionism, a system of personal attitudes that places a very high value on a person’s achievement of beauty standards.

These have changed significantly over the past 20 years, especially in girls: from an unnaturally thin body at the turn of the century to an athletic figure with a thin waist, but pumped up abs and arm muscles now.

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